How vendors can work better with independent retailers

What kind of support do indies expect from vendors and how can brands better engage with them? We find out in BullGuard's recent survey.
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Without the buying power of national retail chains, larger VARs or etailers, many smaller independent retailers feel they lack the support of vendors and distributors.

20 independent retailers took part in a BullGuard survey anonymously to share their thoughts and frustrations, and suggest what PC brands can do to better work with them.

Looking at their comments outlined here, it’s clear that indies want to see more of a personal touch and better communication from vendors. They’d like to engage with them face-to-face to build longer lasting relationships.

Indies would like a fairer share, too: Rewards and support that can genuinely help them to sell better, sell more, incentivise staff and in turn help the vendor to reach more customers.

Finally, indies are calling for greater marketing support and POS materials from vendors to help them shout about their products and services.

When asked to rate vendor rewards programmes out of 10, the average score from indies was 6.2. The most common complaint was that rewards weren’t substantial enough, or that achieving worthwhile rewards is too challenging.

When asked to judge overall support, including attention, resources provided and personal care from vendors, votes from the independents were mixed, with an overall score of 6.4 out of 10.

The feeling from many retailers is a sense that vendors favour larger volume sellers. But that doesn’t need to be the case.

“The message here seems to be that while independent retailers appreciate rewards, they can feel undervalued if they are not properly structured. More is needed on a personal level to support and nurture partnerships,” said Steve Hicks, head of global sales at BullGuard.

So what can vendors do better? We’ve picked some of the anonymous comments from independent retailers on what they’d like to see from vendors.

“Price is important but a couple of pounds makes no difference. I’d rather buy from vendors that offer a personal touch.”

“I want a personal approach with a view of helping us expand our services and range.”

“Personal contact works, having a point of contact at each vendor to discuss issues or ideas can make a difference.”

“I have never heard from the majority of vendors.”

“They need to come out and visit us and learn more about our business.”

“More dedicated time for independents can go a long way.”

“Helping us out with marketing, driving customers to the shop.”

“Retail POS is essential and POS for relevant products would be best.”

“Vendors need to understand that bricks and mortar indies can give customers and the public better product awareness and knowledge.”

“It would be good if more vendors could promote the benefits of buying from independents as specialists rather than showing the cheapest place to buy online.”

“Understand that independent retailers are an important part of your business, and don’t give nationals all the deals.”

“Rewards schemes are of little benefit if you are a small company.”

“They need to understand business better for each partner, rather than sticking to a one-size-fits-all approach.”

”A solid rewards scheme and support is very important as it’s a competitive market and there needs to be an incentive.”

“With the increased amount of cloud and yearly renewal products, ongoing commission is very important.”

“Some vendors make rewards schemes unnecessarily complicated and difficult to action.”

“Reward schemes could be a lot better – free POS, outdated products and multi buys don’t set the world on fire.”

ABOUT THE SURVEY AND BULLGUARD
This anonymous survey of 20 retailers was commissioned by award-winning anti- malware and mobile security company BullGuard, to find out what small businesses value the most.

In 2014, BullGuard re-launched its partnership programme ‘BullGuard Advantage’, a revenue share scheme that has seen over €12 million paid back to partners since 2010.

Partners qualify for revenue share and support from BullGuard once they purchase 10 units of BullGuard product, and those who generate more than 500 customer activations per annum qualify for greater benefits.

Check our PCR’s selection of the top 20 UK indie retailers in our Hight Street Heroes feature here.

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